Hopefully, there will be something to show for all of this awareness advocacy. The question is: will it ever be more than blue shirts, awareness ribbons, support walks and sound bytes? I hope so. But, when there isn't a month supporting my son and those like him, other questions abound.
My son walks normally, not with a limp. Why would he warrant a "handicapped" tag?
He looks just like any other normal kid on the playground. Why doesn't he play kickball with the other boys?
He doesn't come into the restaurant in a wheelchair. Why can't he just sit normally like his two quiet sisters?
Every other normal person in the room is whispering amongst themselves. So, why does he have to sing and hum so loudly, and keep beating his hands on the wall?
Why can't we just let go of his hand like any other normal kid?
He just looks so ... normal.
There's the issue. Autistics (or those with autism, or however you choose to phrase it) don't look different than anyone else in the room. No curved spine. No wheelchair. No Cochlear Implant or hearing aid. No guide animal or white cane. Nothing to identify that they are facing what you and I would consider a challenge.
Once the ribbons have faded, the walks have wrapped, the donations have been tallied, and the light bulbs replaced with the color of the next support event, our loved ones living with autism will go back to looking normal. And, when they have a meltdown in the middle of Costco because the humming fluorescents and PA systems became too much, we will go back to being the parents who can't control "that unruly child".
Because memories fade, and human nature is in us all.
I guess that's just normal.